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Stony Brook University
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The book and Webassign. The calculus book for MAT 125 is the 4th edition of Stewart's "Calculus: Contexts and Concepts" book (just the single-variable portion). The department has also adopted WebAssign for use with this course; Webassign is the way we assign and grade most of the homework, except for a few problems each week to be written up and handed in. Students need the book plus Webassign. (Please be aware that Stewart has several calculus books; ours is the Concepts sequence.)
Buying the book with Webassign. The bookstore charges $207 for a new textbook with multi-semester webassign access (includes electronic text). (The same bundle is available from Amazon for $274.92). An advantage of buying from the bookstore is that you have the product in hand immediately.
But there are other possibilities.
You can buy the same bundle directly from Cengage, the publisher, for $145.15 from the "SBUCALC" page of the Cengage website.
Purchasing Webassign. One can purchase webassign separately, with or without an electronic textbook, and either for one or multiple semesters. For students who will only be taking one semester of single-varable calculus (MAT132, MAT127, and in many cases MAT126), a single-semester of webassign with an electronic-only text is a cost-effective alternative.
Used books. Used copies of the 4th edition of the Stewart Concepts typically sell for $80-120 online. This is probably not a cost-effective option, since adding in Webassign makes the cost almost the same as a new copy for $145 from the publisher.
3rd edition vs. 4th edition. The fourth edition of the text is not terribly different from the 3rd (except that a couple of sections have merged or split, and the homework problems are different or have different numbers). Used copies of the third editon are widely available for under $20 (and as low as $3). If the student chooses the electronic-only option from Webassign or elsewhere, buying a cheap copy of the 3rd edition gives them a useful printed text to read in the traditional manner.
8/26/13